The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics. However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Cats were closely connected to a number of gods and goddesses, and there is evidence that they were considered to be demi-gods in their own right. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices for more than 30 centuries. Several Ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fetility and power The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Cats were praised for killing venomous snakes and protecting the Pharaoh since at least the First Dynasty of Egypt. The protective function of cats is indicated in the Book of the Dead, where a cat represents Ra and the benefits of the sun for life on Earth. Cats were also associated with the “Eye of Ra” and linked to the goddess Isis because they were perceived to be great mothers.
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Malakoot Art Gallery
Dina Shalaby is a Russian-Egyptian visual artist focusing on modern art inspired by Ancient Egypt.
Having always been at the intersection of two opposite worlds, be it cultures, creeds, values, or expressions – harmonizing differences has become a way of life. Regardless of the what and where, she always perceived herself as a bridge and an interpreter.
After a long journey of trying to find acceptance for contradictions within oneself and others, she finally stumbled upon that Holy Grail, and it turned to be right here, home, only a few millennia back.
To this day, Ancient Egypt remains a mighty master in the realm of tolerance, harmony and acceptance where duality is not only tolerated but glorified as the motor of Life. This was the door through which Dina embarked on her art journey a few years ago.
Dina has an infatuation with materials that were extensively used by Ancient Egyptians, especially cartonnage / papier mâché, gold leaf and papyrus. She also loves creating digitally enhanced replicas of her handmade work.
Dina held two solo exhibitions in Cairo at Fabrika Media & Arts Center in March 2019 and Nout Art Gallery in October 2020. She took part in five group exhibitions including in Nut Art Gallery, Luxor Art gallery (Daughters of The Nile, Nov2019) and Nun art Gallery (Jan 2022, Feb 2020). She also shares her art through her online platform www.malakoot.art